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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Seeking the Gold

- Jay Cronley, writing on, has several hints on how to find that elusive 50-1 shot, assuring us that it doesn't have to be the person betting his middle daughter's birthday.

Lugging in.

Not a weakness, like drifting, which suggests fatigue. Horses that lug toward the rail are usually trying hard. They're most often toward the front and don't produce gigantic tickets next time out. But it's not always a warning sign as many assume.
Horses that are around 1 for 30 in non-winners of two.

The one thing you can usually say about a regular plodder is it is probably reasonably healthy.

Which is more than you can say about lightly raced and declining cheap mummies that seem to ache to the touch.
That second point is a different way of looking at things than I'm accustomed to; but I suppose that's what looking for such high odds entails. Ofttimes I won't even get past the career record at the top of the pp's for a horse like that. But I suppose it's somewhat similar to the notion that a pitcher has to be pretty good to lose 20 games in a season. That guy is at least sound enough physically to take the ball every five days, and the fact that he stays in the rotation long enough to accumulate so many losses means he can't be that terrible. I can think of one team that I'm sure wouldn't mind finding some 20 game loser to throw into a game right now!

On the other hand, Davidowitz, in his latest DRF Plus column on Avoiding costly mistakes, reminds us that it's "rarely, if ever" a good idea to bet a frequent bridesmaid to win. He's talking about a different situation, that in which the horse is habitually overbet due to his close finishes. But if we look at his suggested exceptions to his rule, and think in terms of Cronley's suggestion, perhaps we can come up with, if not 50-1 shots, at least some winners that are worthwhile.
When a frequent bridesmaid gets a positive trainer change, or is switching racing surfaces or distances to conform to a breeding strength or the statistical strength of a new trainer, such a horse may overcome his losing habit. At that moment however, it is wise to demand some value before you get on board for a minor reversal of fortune. No advantage can be gained anticipating major improvement when the rest of the betting public is jamming their money in the win pool as if the change is guaranteed to produce the elusive victory. [Daily Racing Form (subscription only)]
- Santa Anita ain't no Del Mar, at least based on the first day of racing on the new Cushion Track. In the third race, Johnny Eves went wire to wire in 1:08.05. It was a mix of speed and closers, though the latter dominated as the card wore on. Richard Migliore told the LA Times:
"I really like this track, it feels good. There's a lot of similarity to Hollywood Park. Even though those horses went legitimate fractions, nobody really melted down late. They're handling it fine.
Dancing Edie, making her first start since running second in the G1 Macbee at Del Mar on Aug 4, shortened up and took the feature on the downhill course. You had to go back to June, 2005 to find her last race under a mile. Dancing Edie set the early pace in the F&M Turf last year, but will instead point to either the $1 million E.P. Taylor at Woodbine or the Las Palmas at Oak Tree.


Anonymous said...

Re: BC Blog

My longshot pick right now is Tiago. I know his running style is not exactly conducive to Monmouth but horses did close there this summmer. I also would not be shocked if a Euro shipper came in and took all the money.

I have doubts about Lawyer Ron and Any Given Saturday going 10f. Street Sense has looked less then stellar since the Derby. Curlin ran terrible over the course in the Haskell. Hard Spun (my Derby horse) seems best suited going shorter. Lava Man will wait until next year when the BC comes to SoCal. Brass Hat is passing. Grasshopper didn't do much in the Super Derby. Basically every horse has one or two knocks against him.

My top three right now would be, in no particular order, Dylan Thomas, Street Sense and Tiago. The Coolmore boys will surely try the Classic instead of taking the easy way through the Turf. Maybe Nafgzer is holding back and will unleash a monster at Monmouth or maybe the horse peaked to soon. Tiago reminds me of Pleasant Home, bred to get better with age and taking on a less then stellar field.

After this weekend alot of questions will be answered, but alot more may be asked.


Alan Mann said...

Hey Lenny.

I couldn't agree with you more about looking for a Euro shipper in the Classic this year. And this weekend, I'll be handicapping the preps from the perspective of finding a longshot, as I also totally agree with your assessements of the top contenders and the knocks against them. I haven't read anything to indicate that Dylan Thomas is coming, but if there was ever a year for those guys to come and take a shot, this be it!

Anonymous said...


lately i've improved results by stressing one particular handicapping factor: always favor the lightly raced horse. has the added benefit of greatly cutting down handicapping time. no need to waste time pondering the chances of a 1 for 48 ny bred.
yesterday's example was sky cup in the 5th at belmont. was 1 for 4 and had just broken her maiden at calder for Mdn32 at 1 1/16 on turf. was in here in a 35N2L and foes were 1 for 8, 1-19, 1-10, 1-7, 1-22, 1-9, 1-10, 1-14.

cheers, chris

ljk said...

So Chris,
I'm guessing you won't be wagering heavily on Classic Marilyn in the 7th today. She's 2 for 38, but has won nearly $140K in the NY-bred subsidy program.

the chalk said...


Summerwind Stable (aka Mike Francesa) better known as Mike and the Mad Dog on the YES network. Or WFAN- The Fan Sport Radio. The proud owner and breeder of Classic Marilyn.

This is a prime example of a quality horse just not running in the right spots. Hard knocking mare. How many times is she been 4th by a few lengths? If she could get a 20k race for a tag, she would be tough every time.

But then again, my father did have her at Tampa ;)

Alan Mann said...

Anyone have that all-Frankel Pick Three?

ljk said...

Completely apropos of your Davidowitz discussion, Dubliner wins the nightcap. The only thing more inexplicable than his win (jockey change?) was his 2-1 odds.

Anonymous said...

I did not have the all Frankel Pick 3, but I had the late pick 3 yesterday. It paid $172, and I got it with one ticket (actually $1 paid $86.)

Funny thing is, I challenged myself and went looking for a 50-1 return after reading Cronley's article. I couldn't find it with one horse, so I tried to patch something together. I was very focused. That dollar was my only bet of the day (except for the showdown pick. (Day two- still in!!))

Cronley has a lot of lists, and they can be helpful. Fantastic writer, too. I just bought and read a copy of his horseracing novel, Good Vibes, hardcover, first edition, in great condition, for $12.99. According to Jay, this book at that price is the book collecting equivalent of hitting a $100 horse. I want to auction it and take all the money and put it on one horse, like the guy in the book. Isn't that the only appropriate way to go?

Anonymous said...

no ljk i was not tempted by classic marilyn today or ever :)
two subsidized ny breds in the open 35n2l i talked about were
Carrs and Stripes 19 1 3 4 $88,647
Dr. Jess Jr. 22 1 1 5 $67,849

cheers, chris

Alan Mann said...

That's funny about Dubliner, because he's a precise example of the kind of horse that Davidowitz was talking about - one to not only not betting on him to win, but instead using him in the second and third spot (which I've done successfully on a couple of occasions). Dubliner was not changing conditions in this case, but sometimes these horses find a field that they can't help but beat. Let's see if he shows a fondness for winning.

Anonymous said...

Dubliner is just one more notch in my belt of being beaten by career bridesmaids. It seems that if I play a maiden race with a 0-8, 0-20 or even 0-30 runner they always manage to beat me. Same thing with horses that are 1-20, 1-30, etc. Dubliner was a total play against, in fact tossing him coupled with Ice Cool Kitty as a mortal lock was the only reason I bet Belmont yesterday.

Going into the final leg of the P4 I was happy to be alive to two logical contenders, a mid-priced horse and the first timer that was not taking any action. At worst I would have made a small profit, but had either of the latter two won I would have made a decent score. Not only did the bridesmaid beat me, but none other then my nemesis Kent D. was aboard. I can not connect with that guy. Use him and he's off the board, throw him out and he beats me. He has singlehandedly cost me three P4's at Belmont in the last three weeks. Each time I went three for four and he won the race I lost.

Anyway, sorry to digress, but Dubliner was a bet against. Short price, repeatedly failed at the level and ran the worst race of his life last time. These horses are always underlays and betting against them in the long wrong is the right thing to do, unless of course you are me.


Anonymous said...

Mark me down as another that left Dubliner off my P4 ticket, a ticket I in part played assuming he was a beatable underlay.

I would rather be wrong betting against these types than betting on them at 2-1.

Erin said...

Nice job Robin. That's a $200 book. (Check out Where'd you get it?

Anonymous said...

I got lucky on, Erin. Good book, very fun read. mmvie LET IT RIDE was based on it. Let's see what it fetche on ebay next month...